The London P&I Club prepared for a change in its leadership with a turnaround of fortunes in 2023/2024 after a grim previous 12 months, according to figures posted on Monday.

The club — one of the smallest members of the 12-strong international group of protection and indemnity clubs and the worst performing in the 2022/2023 policy year — reported a return to profitability for both underwriting and investment as chief executive Ian Gooch prepares to bow out.

A year of few major claims boosted underwriting results, with the club reporting a combined ratio of 83%. A ratio of below 100% represents an underwriting profit and was a marked swing from the previous year’s result of 128%, worse than any other club in the International Group of P&I Clubs.

The club also reported a strong investment performance with a profit of $17.4m, representing a 5% return. The results allowed the club to significantly rebuild its free reserves — a key sign of underlying strength — from $114m to $150m.

The figure remains below the $164m of the 2021/2022 policy year, but the club’s leadership said it had been working to put its finances on a more sustainable footing.

Gooch said: “The work over recent years to address discrepancies between fleet premiums and risk profiles has helped to restore rates and deductibles to more sustainable levels.”

The club made a supplementary call to members in 2021 to strengthen its finances and was hit by a series of major claims.

The club increased its mutual book of business by 8.9% at February’s renewal round to reach 44.1m gt. That also marked a rebound from the previous year after parting ways with a number of its members, unwilling to be part of the higher pricing structure.

“We want to set rates which enable us to develop and maintain the kind of long-term close working relationships we want to have [with shipowners],” Gooch told TradeWinds.

“If members want to enjoy the type of service support that we provide, they appreciate… it’s a two-way street. We provide a service but it needs to be priced on a sensible, realistic footing.”

He said that member retention had been high over the last two or three years despite the “pretty challenging” period.

Former group managing director at the Standard Club, James Bean, will take over from Gooch later this year.

Bean, a key player in the NorthStandard merger, has been charged with growing the existing business.