Kim Kerr brought nearly 25 years of risk management experience to NMSU when she joined the College of Business in 2019. Kerr, a former executive management professional who also served in the United States Army for nine years, teaches finance and risk management courses in NMSU’s Finance Department.
“I’ve been in risk management for many years,” said Kerr, who finished her third year of teaching at NMSU in May 2022. “I’ve been in risk management and executive risk management since the mid-1990s.”
Before coming to NMSU, Kerr worked as the risk management director at Alliant Insurance Services, a national insurance brokerage firm with more than 3,200 employees and 120 locations across the United States. Her primary responsibilities involved claims management, insurance placement, business continuity, audits and compliance.
Kerr spent much of her career in the public sector, serving as a city manager in Ione, California, and later as an assistant chief administrative officer in El Dorado County, California. She also worked as a risk manager in Humboldt County, California.
Kerr decided to go into teaching after retiring and relocating to New Mexico with her husband.
“I’ve always wanted to teach, and when a job opened up at NMSU in risk management and insurance, I knew it would be a perfect fit,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to engage with students. I’ve really enjoyed my time so far.”
Kerr said introducing students to her life’s passion – risk management – has been a rewarding experience.
“I’m just blown away by our students and their stories. We’ve got some who juggle school and hold down multiple jobs while caring for their families,” she said. “My goal as a teacher is to give our students an education that will help them find success and improve their lives.”
She said most people – like herself – “fall” into risk management. But she believes understanding risk from a business standpoint can be a lucrative skill applicable across many fields.
“Risk management is a great career,” she said. “If you want to work in sales, this is a great place to do it. You can also be on the broker side, or you can work on the support side and manage accounts. If you want to help with people, it’s a wonderful place to do that.”
She added that risk managers are nearly always in demand, and there’s a growing need for workers with expertise in cyber risk. She encourages students at NMSU to take risk management classes to learn about the field before they graduate.
“Any major at NMSU with a minor in risk management can walk into an insurance company and get a job,” she said. “Right now, there’s a need for young people.”
Kerr said her teaching approach relies on showing the realistic side of risk management.
“In my classes, we talk about the different types of risk and how it applies to different organizations. I have my students do case studies and actually go out and assess risk and apply risk treatment to a business,” she said. “We look at broad risks and how to address them. I want to teach them what questions they should ask because risk management professionals are not experts in operations. Rather, we are advisers who can help an organization problem solve and mitigate risk.”