Allstate Life Insurance Company is taking part in a study to see if a simple skin test could evaluate policy applicants for risk of coronary heart disease.

Allstate Life, a subsidiary of the Allstate Corporation, Northbrook, Ill., is participating in the Prepare (Predicts Atherosclerosis Risk and Events) clinical trial study. It is evaluating the skin test, know as Prevu, with IMI International Medical Innovations Inc., Toronto, developer of Prevu, and McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Guelph, Ontario.

Applicants for life insurance typically undergo a blood test as part of their assessment for risk of coronary artery disease. The new study will examine a skin test that uses an adhesive collection strip to collect dead skin cells from an individual for processing with the Prevu test, Allstate says.

Prevu purports to measure the amount of sterol, or skin tissue cholesterol, that has accumulated in the tissues of the body.

“Allstate is always looking at new technology to make our underwriting process simpler for our customers,” says Matt Easley, vice president of life products, Allstate Life.

Allstate will look closely at the study results to see if the skin test is an acceptable alternative to blood testing, Easley adds.

The company will offer the test to policy applicants who are willing to take part in the test, but the results will not be considered for their application during the testing stage, the company says.