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Taking the leap into starting your own business can be a real challenge. However, for someone whose life has been all about jumping out of planes a thousand feet above the Earth, it’s a venture that is sure to fly high in Coastal Carolina.
As a Jumpmaster for the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, former U.S. Army Sergeant Brett Harms made his mark learning to ensure the lives of others parachuting for the first time. “We’d help inspect parachutes, make sure everything was rigged properly, do door checks and dozens of other inspections making sure each person jumping was safe and successful.”
Now after spending more than four years training and protecting our service men and women, Harms has traded in his office above the clouds for one at ground level, two hours down the road in North Wilmington.
Beginning Monday, Harms will officially open the doors to Brightway, The Harms Agency insurance office. Earning his license to sell real estate in North Carolina this past April, the former E-5 Sergeant is now licensed to sell insurance in the Tar Heel State, as well.
“Finding ways to troubleshoot problems is just part of my nature. Working in insurance is all about being able to protect those who trust me to look out for them. I’ve always taken pride in that,” the 24-year-old Hoggard High School alum said. “My first jobs were with a local restaurant and grocery store. They didn’t pay much at the time. So, it really made me think about what career I wanted to pursue.”
After deciding to enlist in the U.S. Army and serve his country, Harms wouldn’t take long to realize he was on a path that would pave his future for years to come.
Deployed overseas for a tour in Afghanistan in 2019, Harms served as attached infantry for a special forces group. His acts of service would earn him the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge and multiple Army Achievement medals. Harms would complete multiple Army schools including Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster and the Basic Leader Course.
After he left the service, it would be a conversation with another Brightway agent which got him interested in serving in another industry.
“My dad has a property in Florida that is insured through Brightway. I started talking to his agent and I was hooked. I felt I would be putting my passions to look out for others to work,” Harms said. “And, it’s about more than just looking out for my neighbors. It’s also about educating them on the process. People want to be empowered and I’m glad to do that for them.”
While Harms was growing up in the Port City, both of his parents ran their own small businesses. Their example, his military training and a passion for helping others have played a part in the launching of Wilmington’s newest company.
Harms and his fiancé, Kailey, also plan to work with Wilmington’s four-legged friends, as well. The agency will be donating a portion of every policy sold to local animal rescue efforts. It’s an announcement that comes as no surprise to their recent rescue puppy, Peanut.
“He was malnourished with ear infections and needed a lot of love,” Harms added. “We have two other dogs and two cats, as well. We are both suckers for animals and can’t wait to help do what we can to help. Brightway is giving me that opportunity.”
Brightway, The Harms Agency offers customized Home, Flood, Auto, Boat, Condo, Renters, Personal Articles, RV, Motorcycle, Umbrella, and Life insurance policies from numerous insurance companies. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit his office at 5512 Business Drive in Wilmington, NC. Or, visit his office online at BrightwayHarms.com or call 910-518-5635
Brightway’s corporate office staff provides expertise and support in areas including customer service, technology, accounting, marketing, distribution and business analytics. In addition, Brightway handles carrier relations and appointments, as well as support with personnel hiring, licensing, onboarding, training and retention. The company’s signature after-the-sale service empowers Agency Owners, like Harms, to focus on new business sales and provide customers the personalized service they deserve.
About Brightway Insurance
Established in 2008, Brightway grew to become one of the largest privately-owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with over 300 franchises in 30 states and over $900 million in annual premiums. Recently, Brightway’s success led to a private equity investment that has infused the company with financial and human capital, and data and analytics access, to accelerate growth and deliver new and exciting market opportunities.
Brightway produces winning outcomes for franchisees and their customers by offering access to customized coverage solutions from a range of insurers paired with full back office and marketing support. This winning model allows agents and producers to focus on addressing the needs of their customers to become trusted advisors and grow their businesses.