Philip Ponsford, Samira Hmam, Astaara
3 February 2021

Astaara names former naval captain as deputy chief cyber officer

Astaara, the specialist marine cyber insurer, has hired Philip Ponsford as deputy chief cyber officer, while Samira Hmam becomes senior business development director.

Ponsford is a former naval captain who worked at the forefront of the development of information security strategy for the UK’s Royal Navy. He also spent 30 years in senior roles at sea and on shore, including three years at the centre of UK cross‐government maritime security, as deputy director of the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC).

Hmam has spent 14 years working in underwriting.

Ponsford vowed to bring an experienced mariner’s eye to every aspect of Astaara’s work, particularly in how to operationalise its approach to cyber, stressing his deep understanding of how industry and government should work together to address maritime security.

“Whilst at NMIC it became very apparent to me that there are many companies offering cyber advice but there are very few with the ability to translate this into a realistic and valuable product,” Ponsford said. “Astaara is clearly well ahead in this field and coupling their offering with an insurance product is truly groundbreaking.”