Online insurance group Esure says it expects to deliver results towards the upper end of its guidance for 2017 following a better-than-expected performance in the first quarter.

The FTSE 250 firm said gross written premiums rose by nearly a quarter to £187.4m ($241.7m) in the January to March period.

This was largely due to a 29% improvement in motor premiums to £166.3m.

Home premiums were down 4.5%, with Esure chief executive Stuart Vann saying that current market conditions were not conducive to profitable growth in the division.

"We have made a strong start to 2017, with trading in motor particularly pleasing," Vann said in a statement.

"Overall, we have started 2017 better than we expected and we are firmly on track to deliver results at the more positive end of the 2017 guidance we issued at the time of our 2016 full year results in March."

Esure had predicted gross written premiums to rise by 15-20% for the calendar year in March.

Its share price was 1% higher in London following the release of the trading update.

Vann added that the group remained on track to meet its target of delivering 3 million policies by 2020.

Esure demerged its Gocompare price comparison website and listed it on the London stock market in November last year.