A large West Coast insurance company is about to start a new century.

Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, Los Angeles, says it is starting to celebrate its 100th birthday anniversary.

The company, now a unit of AEGON N.V., The Hague, Netherlands, was founded in 1906 as Occidental Life Insurance Company. Occidental was acquired in 1930 by Transamerica Corp., and Transamerica Occidental was acquired by AEGON in 1999.

Occidental’s early leaders had to use their own savings to help pay life policyholders during the 1918 influenza pandemic, Transamerica says.

The company helped create the modern term life market in the 1920s, and it helped create the modern universal life market in the 1980s.

The company is celebrating its centennial by contributing to First Book, a charity that provides children from low-income families with their first books, and by sponsoring a pyramid-drawing contest at a Los Angeles elementary school, in honor of the company’s famous Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco.

Transamerica Occidental also has launched an advertising campaign featuring the headline, “We’ve Seen A Lot Of Life In 100 Years.”