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May 1, 2023

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


Today’s guest is RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year Theresa Severson. Theresa Severson was already a 30-year veteran of the risk profession when her prior company was acquired by Kite Realty Group, creating one of the largest publicly traded owners and operators of open-air shopping centers and mixed-use properties. Theresa shares how she became VP of Insurance and Risk at Kite, and how her years of successful experiences helps Kite. Theresa tells about what being named RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year means to her, and how her RIMS membership helps her, including having recently served as President of the RIMS Chicago Chapter. She offers an inside look at Risk Management in a large REIT, and how she uses her position to mentor the next generation of risk professionals.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMScast.

[:14] This episode was released May 1st, the start of RISKWORLD 2023. Use the RIMS Events App from the App Store on your mobile device to plan educational sessions.

[:30] About today’s episode with RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year Theresa Severson.

[:49] All about upcoming RIMS webinars, workshops, events, and more!

[1:30] The RIMS Canada Conference 2023 has been announced for September 11th‒14th in Ottowa! The call for educational session submissions is open. Visit for more information.

[1:51] About today’s episode. Theresa Severson was a 30-year veteran of the risk profession when her prior company was acquired by Kite Realty Group in a $7.5 billion merger. Kite is one of the largest publicly-traded owners and operators of open-air shopping centers and mixed-use properties.

[2:10] Theresa was asked to continue at Kite to lead the transition and the risk management group as hundreds of millions of square feet of gross leasable space were affected by the merger. Outside the office, she’s very well known at RIMS and in the greater risk management community.

[2:27] Theresa served as a Vice President of Chicago RIMS and more recently as President, from 2022 to 2022, a critical time for the profession and all chapter leaders. She was also named to Captive Review’s Power 50 Captive Owners for 2022.

[2:41] Her success for her organization and her ability to advance the practice of risk management earned her the title of RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year! You can read more about Theresa in the Awards Edition of RIMS Risk Management Magazine.

[2:55] And if you are at RISKWORLD, join us on May 1st at the Global Studio at 2:00 p.m. for an even deeper dive into her work and career.

[3:03] RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year Theresa Severson, welcome to RIMScast!

[3:35] Theresa was shocked, extremely grateful, and humbled to be selected as the RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year! What meant the most to her was that her nomination was put forth by the Chicago RIMS Chapter. She greatly admires the risk professionals in that chapter.

[4:24] Theresa describes the vibe of the Chicago Chapter of RIMS. It’s one of the largest chapters; the members are very engaged and looking at ways of supporting each other, providing education on the cusp of emerging risks, and networking opportunities.

[5:19] Theresa served on the Board in 2010 for several years and then served as Vice President. The President took another position that required her to step down on the cusp of COVID-19, so Theresa became the Chapter President and held that position for almost two years. She is now the immediate Past President.

[6:05] Was being Chapter President a full-time endeavor for Theresa? There is such a great board and list of officers that everybody carries a lot of the weight. That made it an enjoyable position. Theresa hopes to continue helping the next group of officers.

[7:01] Theresa had been VP of insurance and Risk at Retail Properties of America for 12 years. In October 2021, Retail Properties of America merged with Kite Realty Group to become the fifth-largest, publicly-traded, open-air REIT in the country.

[7:40] It was a challenging time for Theresa before she knew she would be offered a position at Kite. She was offered a role and was assured the support and engagement to be successful. A year and a half later, with support from the C-suite, they completed the combined program in December 2022.

[9:33] Before the merger with Retail Properties of America, Kite did not have an insurance and risk manager. The merger increased Kite’s portfolio by 60 percent, from 84 properties to 187. So they saw the need for a risk department. Theresa contrasts the assets of the two companies. Kite’s Florida portfolio was in a challenged market.

[11:22] About Kite Realty Group’s Florida portfolio and Hurricane Ian. Their damage was not significant and was almost 100% landscaping issues. Theresa had explained to the underwriters before Ian landed the minimal risk their sturdy inland structures might face.

[13:05] Does Theresa visit the portfolio properties? She visits some of them, to familiarize herself with the risks in the property.

[15:05] Theresa explains the value of captives to navigate the highs and lows of the insurance market. She tells why she separates the property and liability coverages and how she chooses between a third party and a captive.

[17:03] RIMS plug time! Volunteer for Spencer’s Risk Manager on Campus Program! Visit There is now a RIMS-CRMP-FED program for federal professionals. The next virtual workshop will be held from May 8th through the 10th. There is a virtual workshop, Applying and Integrating ERM, on May 24th and 25th. Links are in the notes.

[19:39] About Theresa’s work as a mentor and fostering the next generation of risk talent through a Spencer internship grant. She shares a student success story. She was happy to open the door for him. He took good advantage of it and is doing well.
[24:20] The Erik Severson Memorial 5K is a celebration of the life of Theresa’s son who passed in 2008 at age 18. They partner with Project Healthy Mind to provide resources to those struggling with mental health and anxiety. Over the last three years, the race has raised over $50K toward building a website where people can look for local help.

[25:19] Project Healthy Minds is running strong with board members from sports organizations, hospitals, marketing, and the entertainment industry. This year the race is collecting items for a store at Hesed House, a shelter where Erik volunteered. Sign up at for the Erik Power Severson Memorial 5K Walk/Run.

[27:08] Justin and Theresa are going to host a session at the Global Studio at RISKWORLD on Monday, May 1st, at 2:00 p.m. for a 20-minute, in-depth discussion.

[27:40] About what Theresa’s RISKWORLD connections mean to her. Her calendar is jam-packed with meetings during the conference as she meets with underwriters and vendors and attends the educational sessions. It’s everything and everybody, all at once, in one place! It’s exhausting, in a good way!

[29:36] Theresa’s parting words: “I think the things that have most allowed me to be successful within my organization and allowed them to be positioned well, to survive this challenging market, are the relationships and the network that I’ve built. And that has definitely been a huge part of RIMS, the network professionals I can reach out to.”

[30:47] Justin congratulates Theresa Severson on being named RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year!

[30:58] Special thanks to RIMS 2023 Risk Manager of the Year Theresa Severson for joining RIMScast. If you are attending RISKWORLD on May 1st, see Theresa receive her reward at the Awards Luncheon. Visit the Global Studio on May 1st for RIMScast Live with Theresa Severson at 2:00 p.m.

[31:23] Read about Theresa in the Special Awards Supplement to RIMS Risk Management magazine at the link in the notes below.

[31:36] Sponsor a RIMScast episode to reach a global audience! Justin shares other RIMS offers, including a transitional membership!


Mentioned in this Episode:

RISKWORLD 2023 — April 30‒May 3 in Atlanta, Georgia! On-Site registration is open!

LAST CALL — RIMS-CRMP-FED Virtual Prep Course — May 8‒10, 2023 | Register by May 1.

RIMS Diversity Equity & Inclusion page

Spencer Educational Foundation — Risk Manager on Campus

Contribute to Risk Management Magazine

RIMS Risk Management Magazine: Awards Edition 2023

Erik Severson Memorial 5K — May 2023 — Register today!

Hesed House

Upcoming Webinars:

“The Green Transition: Raising Long-Term Resilience Against Climate Change as Environmental Risks Intensify” | Sponsored by Beazley | May 9, 2023

“Unraveling the White-Collar Criminal: A Comprehensive Look at the Forces Driving Organized Insurance Fraud” | Sponsored by Travelers | May 11, 2023

“Harness The Power of Data for Better Insurance Outcomes” | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD | May 18, 2023

See the full calendar of RIMS Virtual Workshops

Related RIMScast Episodes:

“RIMS 2023 Rising Star Emily Bloedel”

“Riskworld Keynote Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO” (2023)

“Innovation and Improvisation with RISKWORLD Keynote Josh Linkner” (2023)

“Celebrating #SpencerDay and Funding the Future of Risk Management”

“Strategic Moves with RIMS CEO Gary LaBranche”

“RIMS President Jennifer Santiago: R.E.A.D.Y. for 2023”

“From the Office of “KNOW”: Risk Manager of the Year 2022 Courtney Davis Curtis”

Sponsored RIMScast Episodes:

“The Importance of Disaster Planning Relationships” | Sponsored by ServiceMaster (NEW!)

“Technology, Media and Telecom Solutions in 2023” | Sponsored by Allianz (NEW!)

“Analytics in Action” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Captive Market Outlook and Industry Insights” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Using M&A Insurance: The How and Why” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd. 

“Zurich’s Construction Sustainability Outlook for 2023”

“Aon’s 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Overview”

“ESG Through the Risk Lens” | Sponsored by Riskonnect

“A Look at the Cyber Insurance Market” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“How to Reduce Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Risks” | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD

“Managing Global Geopolitical Risk in 2022 and Beyond” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Keeping Subcontractors Safe Through Partner Elevation” | Sponsored by Highwire

“ESG: A Responsibility and a Growing Megatrend” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“Prioritizing People: Focusing on Your Team to Deliver Exceptional Quality and Service to Your Clients” | Sponsored by Gallagher Bassett

“Bermuda Opportunities in 2022 with BDA Chair Stephen Weinstein” | Sponsored by Bermuda Business Development Agency

“SyncR: A Tool to Enhance Your Risk Quality & Insurance Strategy” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“RIMScast: Navigating the Risk Landscape in 2022” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“RIMScast: Prioritizing People: Expertise and Innovation” | Sponsored by Gallagher Bassett

“RIMScast: Risk Findings for the Industrial & Manufacturing Industry” | Sponsored by Aon

RIMS Publications, Content, and Links:

RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

RIMS Virtual Workshops

On-Demand Webinars

RIMS Advisory Services — Ask a Peer

Risk Management Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

RIMS Risk Leaders Series

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

RIMS-CRMP Stories — New interview featuring Broward County RIMS President Stacey Nielsen!

Spencer Educational Foundation

RIMS DEI Council

RIMS Path to the Boardroom

RIMS Events, Education, and Services:

RIMS Risk Maturity Model®

RIMS Events App Apple | Google Play


RIMS Buyers Guide

Dan Kugler Risk Manager on Campus Grant

Sponsor RIMScast: Contact or for more information.


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Follow up with Our Guest:

Theresa Severson

Vice President, Insurance and Risks at Kite Realty Group


Tweetables (For Social Media Use):


“We are one of the largest if not the largest chapter in that part of RIMS and our members are just looking at ways of supporting each other, bringing out educational materials, being on the cusp of emerging risks, … as well as the networking opportunity.” — Theresa Severson


“It was a challenging time. … You just have to keep moving forward. … Fortunately, I was offered a role at Kite and I also had the conversations that I felt necessary that ensured that I’d get the support and engagement to be successful.” — Theresa Severson


“It’s really important to be able to continue those (market) connections, and continue to build those relationships, because, especially in this marketplace right now, you need all the friends you can get.” — Theresa Severson


“RIMS has allowed me to build out that network that I lean into, that I find support to be successful from. If you’re not involved in your local RIMS chapter, I highly encourage you. It will allow you to be more successful … and give you resources.” — Theresa Severson