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Insurer Hastings rides ahead of competition as customer base grows

April 26 (Reuters) - British insurer Hastings Group Holdings Plc said on Friday first-quarter gross written premiums rose 4 percent as more customers bought policies, even as it battled intense competition.

Gross written premiums rose to 235.5 million pounds ($303.9 million) in the three months ended March 31, from 226 million pounds a year earlier, said the mid-cap insurer.

However, Hastings said the loss ratio would move towards the higher end of the 75 percent to 79 percent target range for the year if third-party property damage costs continue to remain high. ($1 = 0.7750 pounds) (Reporting by Muvija M and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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