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Big Easy Undergrad Tops Agent–Intern Charts

Why feature a New York Life Agent?
At New York Life, we believe all of our agents do great work, and that they perform a valuable service in their communities. But some agents go beyond that and make a real difference in the lives of those around them. So we have decided to feature one of our many agents that embodies our commitment to our most valuable asset, Our customers.


Nick Lama, New York Life’s top producing agent intern, right, with his mentor Scott Norris, the managing partner of the New Orleans General Office.

If any one member of Generation Y was born to be a New York Life agent, it has to be Nick Lama.

The list of firsts claimed by the 24– year–old New Orleans native would put some veteran agents to shame: He was the first agent–intern to qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table; the first to earn more than $100,000 in first–year commissions, and the first to qualify for two consecutive councils.

The University of New Orleans finance major credits New Orleans G.O. Managing Partner Scott Norris and his agent mentor David Trepagnier with giving him moral support and professional guidance to pursue what would be for many people too daunting to contemplate: a career as an agent and a full load of college classes.

"They understand that my first priority is doing well in school," says Lama, who is graduating in December.

Lama, who hails from a prominent New Orleans family, was introduced to New York Life and Trepagnier by his uncle. "Dave has been a good friend of my uncle's for almost 20 years so when I told my uncle I wanted to get into the business he knew immediately who to turn to," explains Lama.

The success of New York Life's career agency network is attributable in no small way to established agents such as Trepagnier and executives such as Norris showing newbies like Lama the ropes.

"I wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have without Dave and Scott," says Lama. "Dave has taught me everything I know about building a client base and Scott has helped me with the nuts–and–bolts of the business."

Lama attended last year's Executive Council Meeting in Salt Lake City and having already earned that council level this year is aiming even higher. "I am working hard to qualify for Chairman's Council," he says.

The 2005 Executive Council Meeting in Salt Lake City was a great learning experience, according to Lama.

"I felt more committed to New York Life after Salt Lake City," Lama says. "Hearing other agents’ success stories made me want to get back to work."

"Nick is one–in–a–million," says Kirsten McKaskle, head of the college intern program. "He is easily the most outstanding college intern we've had in the last several years."

It is a minor miracle that Lama, who joined New York Life in January 2005, has done as well as he has this year considering that he lost his house and all his processions to Hurricane Katrina. He was out of town visiting relatives when Katrina hit and couldn't save anything from his house located in the severely flooded Lakeview district of New Orleans.

"Nick remained 100 percent upbeat and focused on work and figuring out a way to continue his education," says McKaskle. The University of New Orleans, which borders Lake Ponchartrain, was closed for six months so Lama took online courses from Louisiana State University.

"To have gone through what Nick did and perform at such a high level both at work and school, to stay focused on his goals, shows what kind of person he is," adds Norris.

According to Lama, his college finance courses have helped him with work and vice versa. "Thanks to what I’ve picked up in my classes, I am pretty confident when I talk to my clients about products," he explains. "On the other hand, the things I've learned at work about the insurance industry and marketing have come in handy at school."

"My advice to a new agent–intern is to work with an established agent and your office's managing partner," he says.

00330108 (Exp. 08/08)

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Big Easy Undergrad Tops Agent–Intern Charts

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