A speech by an insurance executive at an industry conference 40 years ago had a profound effect on Terry Horan.

"He said the baby boomer generation was going to be a major factor in all your planning going forward," says the president and CEO of Horan Associates, one of the region's largest insurance and financial services companies.

"He was absolutely right. That sort of framed our whole business."

Today, Horan Associates has 88 employees at its corporate office in Sycamore Township and a second office in Dayton. It has clients in 40 states, providing guidance on employee benefits to more than 400 companies. It has more than $3 billion in life insurance in force, and more than $1 billion in financial assets under management.

Its clients include United Way of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Perfetti van Melle, itelligence Inc. and Wright State University in Dayton. Within the year, the company expects to establish a third regional office.

"Cincinnati is a wonderful place to do business," Horan says.

"Within a two-hour drive there's Columbus, Indianapolis Louisville, Lexington, Huntington, and Charleston, W.Va. I think Cincinnati is a hub for every one of those markets."

His firm's purpose, as he sees it, is to help people achieve three critical things: Access to affordable health care, build long-term wealth and protect those assets for a lifetime.

But those objectives are increasingly difficult to obtain in the face of rising health care costs and an aging population that's living longer.

Health insurance that cost $100 a month 40 years ago, now costs $1,200 a month, he says.

Short of rationing health care, he says, "We've got to get people healthier and using health services more intelligently. You can't work on the demographics and Medicare is limited."

People need more knowledge on just what it will take to live 30 years past retirement.

"Some estimates I've seen say you'll need $300,000 set aside just for health care maintenance beyond Medicare after age 65. Some of my clients don't have $300,000 in total set aside."

Horan Associates is built on the one-man life insurance business started in 1948 by Horan's father, Jack, in downtown Cincinnati.

Horan, who joined his father in 1973, began developing expertise in employee benefits, retirement planning and life insurance.

"We can't keep the promises that we've been making to people for decades if we don't have an organization that will live beyond us," he told his father.

In 1996, the company formed Horan Securities to sell a wider variety of investment products. Three years ago, the company created Horan Capital Advisors to provide expertise to high-net worth individuals, adding three experienced investment managers: Mark Bennett; David I. Templeton and Nick C. Reilly.

A winner of the Best Places to Work award, Horan's vision extends to its own employees.

"I think if we align the mission and vision each person has for themselves with the mission and vision of the organization, you've got a perfect situation," Horan says.