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New Mission for Iraq War Veteran, Opening Franchise on Desert Storm Anniversary

Jan 20, 2023

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It’s been more than 30 years since Katy, Texas businessman Mike Bellinghausen was a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and was deployed into the middle of the Persian Gulf War. But, like so many of the nearly 700,000 U.S. troops who took part in the six-month-long conflict, Bellinghausen had hopes of a future for himself and his family back in the Lone Star State.

This past Monday marked the 32nd Anniversary of the U.S. launch of the ground assault in Iraq, better known as Operation Desert Storm. And today, Bellinghausen is one of the hundreds of thousands of military veterans of the Middle East conflict writing the next chapter of his life. The 55-year-old father of two will launch his next mission Monday as he opens Brightway, The Bellinghausen Agency insurance office in West Houston.

“One day in August of 1990, we were in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Then, just a couple of days later, we were in the Middle East for what ended up being the beginning of the war,” Bellinghausen recalled.

After serving four years in the Army and another six years in the Texas Army National Guard, Bellinghausen began turning his attention to a career of customer service in Space City. The Stratford Senior High School alum has led a promising 30-year career which has led to his very own business opening just 12 miles away from the Home of the Spartans.

“Being able to write my own script and turn the page to the next chapter is an honor,” Bellinghausen said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to have the right to do one day. Live that American Dream of truly being my own boss.”

From working at his local Pizza Hut to managing a staff of more than 50 for a national auto supplier, this former military mechanic is turning those decades of serving others into a new venture that he can one day hand down to the next generation. “When my dad was with us, he worked in commercial real estate. With my new office, I’m sure we could’ve worked closely,” Bellinghausen shared. “Maybe our kids will get to enjoy running this business one day.” Bellinghausen and his wife, Vianet, have two adult sons, Sebastian and Philip.

Being able to own and operate your own business is a common component of the American Dream. Bellinghausen has the special honor of not only helping fight for freedoms like being able to be your own boss, but also being able to see that long sought-after dream come true.

Brightway, The Bellinghausen 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. (CST) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit them at their office at 3880 Greenhouse Road, Suite 419 in West Houston, online at or call 281-640-2244.

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 Mike, 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 more than 300 franchises in 34 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.