St. Paul Cos. to lay off 50 here

many are in security positions

Insurer moving to pare 1,150 jobs worldwide

January 24, 2002|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

The St. Paul Cos. said yesterday that it plans to lay off 50 workers from its Baltimore offices as part of a plan to cut costs and get out of unprofitable businesses, such as malpractice insurance.

A considerable number of the job losses in Baltimore will be security jobs, which the company plans to outsource, said spokesman Patrick Hirigoyen.

The fourth-largest U.S. business insurer is cutting 1,150 jobs company-wide, more than the 750 it had initially announced last year. Most of the cuts will come from overseas, where the St. Paul, Minn.-based insurer plans on shutting down or selling international and reinsurance offices. "We have international and reinsurance offices in New Zealand, Africa and several European countries," Hirigoyen said. "They're all small operations, but that adds up."

St. Paul employs 750 workers at its Mount Washington campus. St. Paul acquired the Baltimore operation in 1998 when it bought USF&G Corp.

"I don't know a time frame yet for the layoffs," Hirigoyen said. "The way St. Paul is doing it across the board is to offer severance packages, and that could take a couple of months."

St. Paul also announced yesterday that it had a fourth-quarter loss as it spent $900 million to restructure. The company posted a net loss of $736 million, or $3.57 a share, compared with a profit of $193.5 million, or 83 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter rose 20 percent to $2.39 billion.

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