Pennsylvania Promotes Equity Initiatives by Removing Prohibition on the Collection of Race & Ethnicity Data

Pennsylvania Promotes Equity Initiatives by Removing Prohibition on the Collection of Race & Ethnicity Data


On April 9, 2022, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) issued a statement of policy (Notice 2022-05) removing enforcement of a certain provision prohibiting the collection of race and ethnicity data in application forms. The statement of policy took effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and is intended to provide guidance regarding the nonenforcement of § 89.12(e) for purposes of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

The § 89.12(e) provision was originally published in 1969 following the national precedent established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited “discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” As a requirement for individual and group policy forms for life, accident, and health insurance, the provision specified that questions as to race or color were not permitted on the application. At the time, this prohibition was a groundbreaking approach to racial and ethnic equality.

Since then, the PID has recognized the importance of data collection in order to identify DE&I issues and measure improvement in addressing them. Therefore, to foster DE&I efforts, the PID will not enforce the provision in subsection (e) and will permit insurers to collect race and ethnicity data on an application for DE&I purposes only.  Unfair discrimination remains prohibited. 

Insurers soliciting race and ethnicity data may be expected to clearly articulate to prospective insureds and to enrollees: 

  1. Why the data is being requested; 
  2. How it will support efforts to provide equitable care; 
  3. How the data will be maintained as private; and 
  4. Their disclosure of demographic data is: (i) voluntary, with ''prefer to not answer'' and ''other'' options available for all demographic questions; and (ii) based on self-identification.

While the statement of policy addresses a provision related to life, accident, and health insurance, it specifies that other types of insurance policies may be subject to eligibility or underwriting criteria or to rating variations based on demographic and other factors. As such, other types of insurers may also solicit race and ethnicity data.

Specific questions relating to information provided in the statement of policy may be directed to the Insurance Department, Office of Chief Counsel, 1341 Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17120 or by e-mail to


Link to Notice 2022-05