StockMarketWire.com - Insurer Just group announced that Chris Gibson-Smith would retire as chairman as soon as a suitable successor had been identified.

The announcement came as the company swung to an annual profit as measures to turnaround performance were taking shape and falling interest rates boosted its investment and economic performance.

For 2019, the company reported a pre-tax profit of £386m, compared with a loss of £85.5m on-year

Retirement Income sales fell 12% to £1,918.1m, but investment and economic segment swung to a profit of £173.8m, compared with a loss of £252.0m boosted by falling interest rates.

The solvency II capital coverage ratio grew from 136% in 2018 to 141% in 2019 thanks to a boost from the £400m of new capital raised during the year.

'We achieved organic capital generation in the second half of the year and at the same time have accelerated our adoption of the new regulatory requirements at a lower cost than previously expected,' the company said.

The group had chosen to restructure its lifetime mortgage notes to accelerate alignment with the new regulatory requirements, resulting in a £219m regulatory capital cost in the second half of 2019, which together with the estimated £80m future cost of full compliance with new capital regulatory requirement was within the guidance of £350m provided at the 2019 half year, the company said.