LONDON, May 3 (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 ($1.04 billion), 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.
$1 = 0.7759 pounds Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong