The Medicare Agent Blog

Agent Spotlight: Meet Kerri Sanford!

Kerri Sanford
Independent Insurance Broker

Meet Kerri Sanford, an esteemed leader in the Sacramento-based Health Insurance industry, celebrated for her dedication and impactful contributions as a female entrepreneur. With an impressive 32-year journey that began as a single mother at Washington Mutual Bank, Kerri’s profound expertise in Medicare, coupled with her grassroots marketing strategies, has cemented her position as a standout figure in the field.

So Kerri, tell us about how you got started in the insurance business, and how long you’ve been in the industry?

“32 years ago, I was a single mom, raising my son when I started at Washington Mutual Bank as a teller and later transitioned into new accounts, eventually becoming involved in consumer and residential lending. One day my boss had come in to inform me he would be sending me to an insurance school for a week, with 8-hour days of intensive learning and a test at the end. So that is how I first got my insurance license and started in the insurance industry.  I worked for the bank for 15 years, climbed the corporate ladder, and ended up as VP of a small business banking division, before leaving and going out on my own as an independent broker, specializing in group benefits, life insurance.  After spending 15 years in the same role, I felt the need for a change. Around that time, my parents fell ill, requiring my full-time care. This circumstance led me to quickly familiarize myself with Medicare.  I connected with Rosamaria and Helen, under whom I was mentored, to gain comprehensive knowledge of the Medicare industry.” 

Kerri, what’s your specialty?

“I’ve been specializing in Medicare since 2019, and my secondary is Long Term Care.  I’ve just recently started selling an In-Home Care program service that I’m a big fan of, due to my first-hand experience of being a full-time caretaker.  I want to educate people on what’s available so that they don’t have to live what my life has been the last 5 years.”

Tell us a little bit about what marketing you’ve found to be successful for you along your journey?

“That’s a hilarious question because I jokingly say I think I’ve tried everything! Being new to Medicare, I wanted to try everything so I could explain it to others.  So, if I’m telling you, ‘Hey try this out!’, I know it’s worth the time and effort because it worked for me.  My mentors informed me that I had taken off a little quicker than other agents, and I think it is solely due to my background, and the relationships I established in the Voluntary Health Employee benefits.  There wasn’t a lot of brokers specializing in Medicare at the time, therefore I got a lot of referrals from the group health insurance brokers.

With that being said, I did everything grassroots; I never hesitated to cold call senior centers, apartment communities, you name it- I’ve done it.  I did get creative during the shutdown and started to host events called Laundry Day, I chose to focus on lower income apartment complexes, where end of the month I’d hand out laundry supplies and offer free plan coverage reviews.  Volunteer activities like this helped me get present in the community and build additional relationships, also allowing me the opportunity to give back to the community as well.

Although I found that Facebook ads were not effective for me personally, I still leverage LinkedIn for free marketing. While the digital landscape is crucial, I place emphasis on direct outreach, frequently visiting pharmacies to establish personal connections and leaving behind referral tools. 

My business plan is simple: to connect with individuals who fit my target demographic, ensuring a steady stream of referrals on a daily or weekly basis.”

What are the top 3 benefits of working with TAIA as your FMO?

“Oh, wow!  The internal support, wealth of knowledge I receive from Rosamaria and other seasoned brokers in the company, and lastly, the Marketing department.  I hear a lot of brokers talk about their past experiences with other FMO’s, and Trusted American is one-of-a-kind.   Working with TAIA allows me to continuously grow my book of business.

How do you stay up to date with changes in the insurance industry?

“I’m on the board of CAHIP (California Agents and Health Insurance Professionals), and SAHU (Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters) so I stay informed with their emails, as well as TAIA’s emails in anything going on in the industry.  I also try to invest in myself by attending webinars and seminars to stay proactive and current in the trends of our industry.  I also try and stay aware of what’s happening in the Senior community in general, so I can continue to holistically help my clients.  I’m not just their Medicare advocate, but I’m a resource they can come to who can connect them to the right person to meet their needs.

Now, let’s dive into the fun stuff! Tell us about your interests and hobbies. Who are you beyond your work life and your role as a dedicated daughter and mom?

“LOL, well, I now call her, Kerrie 2.0 because life has shifted for me, and I’m not the same as I was five years ago. I appreciate my free time more than ever, and I would say self-care is my number one priority. We all lead very full and busy lives, and most of us having to overcome some sort of challenge or obstacle always getting in the way of our own time, but I’ve learned that I am someone who has to workout to help those endorphins stay on track and to de-stress so I’m big on routines!   When I alter from them, that’s when you know I’m on the struggle bus.  Sleep, exercise, meditation, it’s all a priority for me, especially during this time of year!

I love to dance! I am a whole heck of a lotta fun! I love to whoop it up whenever I get the chance.  The joke amongst my family and friends is that I’m going to be that 98-year-old that’s still out there dancing and I may not be dropping it like it’s hot, but I can drop it in my walker!  My mother chose to be inactive in her retirement years, I’m choosing to be active, having as much fun as I can while being independent for as long as I can.  I also love to do anything water or snow related, I’m all about it.   Jet ski in the summer, snowmobile in the winter. 

I have learned that I love to travel. Puerta Vallarta has become my favorite to decompress, slow down and enjoy the beach scene.”

Kerri, will you tell us more about the organization you are with, who just recently honored you with an award?

The Sacramento HUB just honored me with ‘Exceptional Women of Color’ award.  I was nominated by a friend, and I was honored, thankful and grateful to receive this award and be recognized for the work I’ve been doing in the industry and in the community.   

During Covid, I learned that I’m very passionate about leading women, 50 and older specifically, who are in a place of transition, who are figuring out what their next phase in life is.  I realized this was me! So, I set out a goal to educate, mentor, and remind women that you’re never too late to financially build your retirement. I started a group called, ‘Living Well Beyond 50’and this is truly one of my biggest passions- empowering, mentoring, educating, and just supporting other women who are striving to holistically lead financially successful lives.

Kerri, we are honored to highlight your unwavering strength and exceptional leadership, which have made a significant impact in both the industry and the community. Your relentless dedication and passion for helping others have undoubtedly left a lasting impression. We are excited to see what the next chapter of your inspiring journey brings you, and the lives you will continue to bless. 

Trusted American Insurance Agency is a National Marketing Organization (NMO) headquartered in Roseville, CA. Trusted American provides a full range of insurance and financial services products across all 50 states for all major and niche carriers, with a specialty in the Senior Marketplace.

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