Tom Murphy is a veteran Benefits Consultant and Managing Partner at Sonus Benefits. After over 30 years in the benefits space, Tom knows what it takes to supply clients with a comprehensive partnership and superior results.

Tom also serves as one of four partners at MSMF, Sonus Benefits’ parent company, and runs his own personal financial services practice. He sits on numerous professional and charitable boards and routinely speaks to professional associations and employer groups on topics that relate to employee benefits and healthcare reform.

Tom started his insurance career as a group insurance wholesaler and later advanced to hold the position of Regional Vice President with a major insurance company managing as many as 11 regional sales offices throughout the Midwest. In 2002, he made the transition to the Employee Benefits Consulting side. Tom is Past-President of the St. Louis Association of Health Underwriters and a past officer of the Missouri Association of Health Underwriters.

Tom lives in Eureka with his wife, Dee Dee, and 3 daughters, Caitlin, Maddie, and Emma, and always enjoys spending time with family and friends.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Business Communication from Missouri State University and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®).

What is your background and how did you get into this line of work?
Probably being a bartender in college is the best thing that prepared me on running an agency. You got to hear everyone’s problems and try to make them happy. Seriously, I started as a group representative fresh out of college and worked for insurance carriers for 17 years. I was able to see how many others ran their firms and could see who did it best. I was fortunate to have some great mentors that built strong organizations. When I decided to start my own Employee Benefit consulting firm in January 2022, I tried to take a little bit of all those that I respected and build a firm with the simple principle of putting others first.

Speaking of principles, what are your leadership principles?
It is important to have a purpose. A purpose is different than a mission statement in that it is the “WHY” behind what you do. Our firm’s “purpose” is “Solutions For a Happy Life,” which means that we work towards finding the best outcome, no matter the stakeholder. Whether I am working with the “C” suite, HR, an employee at a group, a carrier partner, or one of my great team members, I am looking at how I can provide the best experience. It is important to seek to understand what challenges they are dealing with and what they are trying to accomplish. Then I work to find a pathway to success.

Why are you passionate about BAN? What value has it brought you/your business?
I am passionate about the people. The #1 value BAN has brought to me and my firm is collaboration. Knowing you have others around the country that are dealing with or have dealt with similar issues that we or our clients are facing is comforting. Having others that are there that are always willing to help is invaluable. Also being part of something bigger than just ourselves and knowing some really smart individuals are willing to assist when asked.

With ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, and a shaky economy, are you worried about the economy? If so, are you taking steps to prepare for a recession?
With the 24/7 nature of our news cycle, it is hard not to worry a bit about the economy. But also we must understand that this is not unique. If you look back in history we have gone through many tragedies and bad economic conditions, but the great thing about America is that we are resilient and innovative. It is important to put it all in perspective. I am sure our grandparents worried about our parents, no different than our parents worried about us and we worry about our children or grandchildren. It is important to have faith that each generation will figure it out, as they have for many centuries.

Where do you see the industry headed for the balance of 2023 and in 2024?
This is a tough one. We are still seeing some effects of “covid hang-over” in not only delayed healthcare but also in our workforce. It seems as though rates are rising faster than they have been in the past couple of years. As an industry, we need to continue to find innovative ways to assist our clients and their members to hold down costs. With many carriers closing their sales offices and shifting their service models, it is incumbent on us to be there even more for our client partners. It is sometimes challenging to be optimistic but our job is to find solutions and I am confident we will continue to do just that.

What are the industry’s biggest challenges?
My biggest concern is the continued rising cost of care, especially when it comes to pharmacy. It is a tough balance because what makes us great is the innovations and advancement of health care. What may have been a terminal condition just years ago can now be cured. The advancements are incredible, but the costs are growing at an unsustainable rate. Unfortunately, each of the different stakeholders seems to point the finger at the other as being the “problem” or cause. We need to continue to find ways to come together to ensure care is affordable for all.

We continue to see the cost of care rising and this has a great impact on employers and their members. Inherently employers want to do their best for their associates and provide them with fair wages and strong benefits programs. As an industry, we need to continue to strive to find the best solutions that provide both comprehensive and competitive benefit programs. I also feel we need to all work together to better educate others to be better consumers of healthcare.

For the younger generation, what are one or two lessons you’ve learned that you can share with them?

  • Spend more time listening than talking. Take the time to understand what others are saying. It is ok to ask questions to seek better understanding.
  • Be servient and put others first. If you take care of others, you will never have to worry about being rewarded.

Tom can be reached at or 314-677-2550.

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