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LONDON (Reuters) - British motor and home insurer Direct Line Insurance Group reported a 4.2 percent rise in gross written premiums in the first quarter, boosted by strong performance in its auto business, it said on Wednesday.
Gross written premiums rose to 810 million pounds, in line with a forecast by analysts KBW.
Direct Line, whose brands include Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege, said in a statement it continued to target a 2017 combined operating ratio in a 93-95 percent range for continuing operations.
Combined ratio is a measure of underwriting profitability in which a level below 100 percent indicates a profit.
However, performance in home insurance was "challenging", Direct Line said, due to a rise in claims costs.
Gross written premiums fell 3.9 percent in home insurance from a year earlier, compared with an 8.9 percent rise in motor gross written premium.
Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong