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As cities bake on a warming planet, insurers cook up heatwave cover

(Reuters, 5 Oct 2020) With extreme heat impacts soaking up a larger share of urban budgets, insurers are looking for ways to reduce financial risks.

As health workers carried out COVID-19 tests in public squares in Washington D.C. in July, work had to be suspended as temperatures in the paved spaces soared to what felt like 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43C).

The heat-wilted U.S. city of Phoenix, meanwhile, has already seen planes delayed from taking off when airport temperatures hit 120F (48C). And soaring thermometers in Los Angeles this summer led tens of thousands to lose power for days.

In Greece, rising heat is now "one of our city's greatest challenges", Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis told an online event in August.

Longer and hotter heatwaves driven by climate change are becoming an increasingly dangerous - and costly - menace, with sweltering cities often picking up the tab for everything from repairing melted roads to running more cooling centres.

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Reuters, 5 Oct 2020: As cities bake on a warming planet, insurers cook up heatwave cover