St. Paul Re has named James F. Duffy, a corporate insider, as its new president to replace James White who retired Sept. 1.

The New York-based reinsurance subsidiary of St. Paul Cos. of Minneapolis is attempting to rebound from a difficult 1992 when it was battered with heavy losses from Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki. It plans to announce an internal realignment within the next week aimed at streamlining operations and enhancing customer service, company officials said."St. Paul Re the last few years has had some pretty poor results," said Harry Fong, an insurance analyst for Conning & Co. of Hartford. He called the unit's planned internal realignment a response to some of those problems.

The combined ratio of St. Paul Re was 187.1 percent in 1992, and 133.7 percent for both 1991 and 1990. A ratio above 100 percent means that for every premium dollar taken in, more than a dollar went for losses, expenses and


"Even without Hurricane Andrew, the last few years have not been particularly good," Mr. Fong said.

St. Paul Re has been a heavy writer of property reinsurance in past years, leaving it vulnerable to storm losses. It has been trying to build its casualty reinsurance business in recent months with an eye toward better balance of its business mix, Mr. Fong said.

"Jim Duffy is a skilled and seasoned executive within St. Paul," Mr. Fong said. "He has been the company's principal reinsurance buyer for years."

St. Paul wrote $343 million in reinsurance in 1992, compared with $364 million in 1991. Based on premiums, the company ranks 10th among all domestic reinsurance operations that report their results to the Reinsurance Association of America.

The planned announcement of an internal restructuring of St. Paul Re's domestic operations in New York is part of a strategy that Mr. White began developing earlier this year to improve customer service and boost financial performance.

The job duties of some of the reinsurance subsidiary's 300 employees in New York will be changed but no positions will be eliminated, said Pat Hirigoyen, a company spokesman.

Michael Schell, vice president of domestic underwriting at St. Paul Re, will retain his position and remain in New York.

The realignment will not affect St. Paul Re's London office, which handles international underwriting. The London operation will continue to be headed by Peter Aubrey Smith, senior vice president of international underwriting, Mr. Hirigoyen said.

Earlier this year, St. Paul Re increased the rates charged for property/ catastrophic reinsurance coverage by roughly 50 percent for customers that renewed policies in January, company officials said. Most of the unit's reinsurance policies are renewed at the start of the year.

In his first meeting with company employees in New York this week, Mr. Duffy said he wanted St. Paul Re to be known among its customers as the best reinsurance company in the world, Mr. Hirigoyen said.