Too big to handle: the 1972 Flood’s impact on insurance

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The 1972 flood anniversary is this Thursday, June 9. NewsCenter1’s Darsha Nelson recently talked to a local insurance agent, whose family has been here since before the flood, about the experience and how far we’ve come since.

“My grandfather founded the agency in 1949,” says Daniel Maguire, a 3rd generation principle owner at Black Hills Insurance. “My father came in in 1951. My father had seven children; all seven of us worked in the agency at one time. They’re currently five siblings that own the agency now.”

Blackhillcta2Daniel Maguire was 13 in 1972, and remembers standing on the bridge at Canyon Lake Drive the night of the flood and seeing the water before it jumped its banks.

“The morning after, I certainly remember the neighborhood boys, we all hiked to the top of Dinosaur Hill and looked at the western side of Rapid City – it was totally underwater. That’s a Kodak moment that is imprinted in my mind as if it had just happened,” Maguire says. “I can still see it to this day.”

Maguire and four of his siblings still run Black Hills Insurance, and he says that at the time, flood insurance wasn’t as well known – both in the industry and in Rapid City.

He recalls his father approaching several businesses about purchasing flood insurance, and many declined – some were later destroyed.

The National Flood Insurance Program – funded under FEMA – paid-out much of the damages after the 1972 flood, because these major events are too big for any one company to handle. That program, which dates back to the 1960s, recently introduced updated guidance, which according to Maguire, includes a fairer rating system.

Maguire says a lot of people don’t read their policy, and don’t understand that floods and earthquakes aren’t covered under any homeowners policy. He says that some customers, depending on where they live, have seen big increases, while others saw major decreases.

“If you’re truly in a really bad flood hazard, you’re going to pay more for the exposure, which is how it should be,” he adds.

Categories: 1972 Flood, Local News, South Dakota News