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This paper presents a new method to improve reliability and also minimize active power losses in radial distribution systems (RDS) through a process of network reconfiguration. The methodology adopted to enhance reliability, uses the Monte Carlo (MC) simulation and an historical data of the network such as the severity of the potential contingencies in each branch. Due to the greater number of possible configurations and the need of an efficient search, is also used an improved genetic algorithm (IGA), with adaptive crossover and mutation probabilities and with other new features. The method analyses the RDS in a perspective of optimization considering no investment, and a perspective of optimization where is given the possibility to place a limited number of tie-switches, defined by a decision agent, in certain branches. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated through the analysis of a 69 bus RDS.